Drafted

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Drafted

Jul. 3, 1993 I was conscripted into a war that one in three women will be forced to fight. Every 2.5 minutes somewhere in America someone is sexually assaulted. Basic training is brutal on a 14-year-old old girl. I spotted him just before sundown; bent under the hood of a two-toned 76 Mustang.  His faded blue jeans clung to his frame. The mustard yellow T-shirt slung over his right shoulder barely covered his massive chest. Shielding his eyes from the sun he turned and looked upward as if drawn by my gaze.  He was 26 years-old and his name was Matt.

When home is a battlefield, little girls often end up on the frontlines. I followed Matt to his apartment that night. He handed me a cold beer. I remember taking note of the fact that it was already open. I told myself I was safe and drank it. The last thing I remembered was the fun house mirror of his smile, and the room spinning as he placed the chain lock over the front door.

“To subdue the enemy without fighting is the acme of skill.”- Sun Tzu

I never saw my enemy coming. I never got to fight. I was just taken against my will and woke up with the scars. You can’t explain what you don’t remember.  When you have more questions than answers you don’t tell the Mother that wishes you dead. You don’t tell your friends. You certainly don’t tell the police. You learn the rules quickly.  

First you will count all the reasons why it’s your fault. You will remember what a court room does to the victim. Dissected like a lab rat, each piece is held under microscopic scrutiny. I watched enough Lifetime movies to know I would be the one on trial.  How would I tell a jury that I went willingly to his apartment? I couldn’t even tell them what he did to me. I wanted to scream at the top of my lungs. Instead I choked down that secret like a razor blade, felt it sever every artery along the way. When the pain threatened to swallow me whole, I let the nothing take me. I became the walking dead. Seventeen weeks later I found myself in a cold sterile room, with more questions than clothes.  

“You’re perfectly healthy and 17 weeks pregnant.”

The doctor’s words swam around my head. The next 48 hours was a tsunami. There are still parts of me adrift on that sea, but I found my way to shore.  Black women are taught not to cry not to feel, not show weakness. I gave myself permission to heal. With the help of my friend and the founder of The Body Is Not An Apology I began a 21 day RUHCUS challenge that culminated in a ceremony giving me safe space to mourn. On July 17, 2011, eight close friends gathered in my home for a Willing to Weep ceremony. I spent years trying to be a good soldier. I bought the lie that I had to keep the secret, be strong, cry for no one, and mourn nothing.  It was all lies. The night before the ceremony, I wrote down every lie I ever believed about myself, every lie that had ever been spoken about me, and everything I needed to mourn.  

I placed all the strips of paper in a big bowl in the center of the room. We sat cross-legged in a circle. Each woman picked up a lie, read it out loud, countered it with the truth and then tore it to pieces. In this circle surrounded by my closest friends I wept with my whole heart and healed in community. Eight mothers embraced the broken 14-year-old old in a 31-year-old body and told her it was not her fault.

There was nothing left of the lies but torn bits of paper.  Each woman gathered a handful, tossed them into the fireplace and spoke a blessing over me. The Willing to Weep ceremony transformed me forever. I lost 75 pounds in the following year and gained a capacity to live and love myself unapologetically. Radical self-love was my path to overcoming the pain and violation I experienced, and it is my wish for one and all.

I went from healed to healer. There are layers to this transformation.We are still teaching ourselves and our children to love themselves unapologetically amidst all of the madness and mayhem. Every day I wake up and stretch out in purpose and navigate PTSD. I thank the woman who I was for surviving and I give myself permission to mourn what was taken from me and live fully at the same damn time. I help as many people as possible take back all that they can while sifting through my own wreckage. Whenever possible I laugh like funny is new. The flood of #metoo and survivor stories creates a tsunami of emotions for many of us. Unplug if you must. Self care over social media surfing every day. Know that there are resources for those of you still navigating your trauma. It is my life’s work and the mission of many of my colleagues and friends. May comfort cover you when you need it most. 

I want to add that therapy played a large part in my growth, healing and development. Many people and things are catalysts but you must continue the deep work when the room clears, the #metoo disappears, and dialogue is derailed. Make your healing a priority. I am always a resource and what I can’t do I know enough people to get you to the help you need. I wish you wholeness, healing and strength.

All love. All light. Always.

Confidence Omenai Tate

 

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Father’s Day

For 14 years I was a single parent of four children. On Father’s day my children, friends and family often gave me gifts, cooked for me, and did other things to show their love for me and the work it takes to do both jobs. Single parents deserve double honor and I will always give them that. I doth not possess a lone fuck for the people who think they can dictate how any one else traverses the land mine of this day.

I  was never sad on Father’s Day and then my Papa died. He has officially been gone for a year now. The painful part is if he were alive we still would have been separated by more than oceans and expensive airline tickets. He was absent for 12 years of my childhood and MIA most of my adult life. You would think that by now I would have grown accustomed to missing him.

A friend posted on Facebook to share your favorite memory of your father if you had one. I sat at my desk began to weep silently. I have a treasure trove of good memories, before the divorce, before I ended up in the U.S. with my mom, before north Tulsa, before it all fell apart. I also have the saving grace of reconnecting with him as an adult.

Our relationship was complicated and full of wounds and wishes but I want to hold space today for the good. Can I share with you one of my childhood memories and one as an adult? Im going to anyway.

badagery

This is Badagry Beach in Nigeria. When I was kid my Dad and I sat on this shore eating suya fresh out of the flames with raw onions and tomatoes. It is my absolute favorite food in the world. He knows/ knew that and always I sat on the shoreline and dug my hands and feet into the sand and let the breaking waves wash over me. Afterwards my Papa let me sip some of his palm wine. I loved that day. I can grasp it whenever I need to. It is mine in ways he could not always be.

My final memory took place in 2015. When I went back to Nigeria for my Grandfathers burial. The entire family was seated at the head table at the reception hall. I was an Omenai among Omenais. Which is something no one but an Omenai will understand. Not alone but one of the cherished. Surrounded by everyone who came to honor my grandfather Henry Osime Omenai. My father and I danced together for what I did not know would be the last time. Dancing with my father meant everything to me and I will grasp that moment when the waves of  sorrow wash ashore.

Why didn’t you come save me, Papa, when you could? Is the question that haunted me everyday of my life up until his death. Here are the things I know for certain my Papa loved me. He called me his prizefighter or champion in every letter. I love that. He gave me this name that makes me straightens my spine, hold my head high and demand respect. He loved me. His wounds were as deep as my own and we both found peace.

I spent today making bourbon chicken and peach cobbler from scratch with Justin, all the girls, and Lord. We laughed loud, held each other tight, and no one mentioned the phantom limb. I cried when I needed to. I also danced and created art. I even managed a nap. This day is full of dueling emotions for many. May comfort cover you in all the ways you need it. May love overflowing lift you today whether you are celebrating, in mourning or both like myself.

I’m with you always,

Only C.

You Can’t Keep A Good Girl Down

I’ve been feeling under the weather for over a week now. I assumed it was just a product of my nonstop go life. I tried resting but no amount of sleep made me feel better. I woke up with chest pains and drove myself to the ER. They are taking exceptional care of me.

As the doctors scramble around anxiously pouring over tests results and the nurses fuss over IVs, beeping machines, and charts, I consider that tomorrow is the first day of school for Icey, Messiah and Majesty. I do not entertain for a second that I won’t be there.

I sent out the alert to my tribe. The response is as always overwhelming love and support. In the middle of all the texts and calls I got a text that tells me I’m  qualified for Slam Nuba’s (WE CUT HEADS) IWPS Slam on Friday.Well if you know me, you know what that means…

They just gave me nitroglycerin and morphine. It has a similar effect as a benadryl smoothie. Never the less I am guiding Majesty through lighting the candles on my altar and talking Icey and Messiah through mentally preparing for the first day of school via text. It’s not what you have or how you look. It’s all about what you do. I’ll be here memorizing new poems from my Google Drive app until they agree that all is well and send my divinely healthy, magic ass home. And so it is. As I was typing this, the CT scan results came back. I don’t have a pulmonary blood clot!! They are keeping me overnight but I’ll be on my feet in no time and on the mic Friday. Tribe is gold. God is great.

All love. All light. Always.

Confidence Omenai

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Pink has consistently been in my top 10

Pink has consistently been in my top 10 favorite artist since her career began. However tonight my Pink playlist is loaded with lyrics that I am just now fully understanding. The song “Glitter in the Air” says “Have you ever wished for an endless night…have your ever held your breath and asked yourself will it ever get better than tonight. Closed your eyes and just trusted. Looked fear in the face and said I just don’t care.”

Man all this resonates so deeply with my new life. My whole past the abusers would always say “That’s what you get.” Every time I fought back, got hurt, or something bad happened. For the first time today it settled in my spirit that, love overflowing, laughter, amazing friends, spectacular children, a thriving business, and a body that has not betrayed me is “What I get.” I get every good thing.

After spending my whole life believing that I deserved every bad thing that ever happened to me, it is miraculous, liberating, and in this moment I am so overwhelmed by light and love that I cant stop weeping. Tears of joy are rare. I will let them flow freely.

Thank you everyone who is apart of my crazy beautiful life.

Only Confi ♥

It’s that time again. If I had followed my advice we wouldn’t of caught a case. Don’t trade places with what I been through. Happy Thanksgiving!!!!!

Only Confidence

Confi’s Holiday Survival Tips

Some of you(not me) are going to force yourselves to deal with crazy family this holiday.

If you want to make it to Christmas follow these rules.

Taser *fully charged (dont ask)
1 liter Belvedere Vodka (doubles as a nightstick)
1 pint Captain Morgans Rum (doubles as a antiseptic for lacerations)
Bag of zip ties (no handcuffs)* chew through them if you are the one zip tied

Drive your own vehicle for a quick getaway
(918)592-BAIL (keep that handy)
Leave debit card in a sealed envelope w/Bestie in case of extended incarceration
Dont make audible threats (manslaughter vs premeditated murder)
Wear shoes with good traction
If your opponent is a scratcher Carmax doubles as Vaseline rub it on your face
* An updo will minimize hair pulling. A bun toward the back is more practical.

Lol, Im just kidding these rules may come in handy in…

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Giving Thanks To My Grandmothers

Pulling Together

 

For Maggie, Sarah, Callie, Emma, and Esther

Great Great Great Grandma Maggie Thank you for your life and your sacrifice. For you I promise to let no man own me. In me you live free.

Great Great Grandma Sarah, Thank you for your life and your sacrifice. For you I wear my college education like a badge of honor, speak uncompromising truth no matter the consequence.In me you live free.

Great Grandma Callie, Thank you for your life and your sacrifice. For you I buy land instead of liabilities, vote in every election, and dispel darkness with the flick of my wrist. Your intellect is the ink in my veins. In me you live free.

Grandma Emma, Thank you for your prayers, your prophetic voice, and the life you created. For you, I love my children every day with every fiber of my being, I kiss them for everyone cancer stole from you, I embrace as I know you longed to hold my mother. I am everything you didn’t get to be. For you I raise your grandchildren like warriors, teach them how to fight in the spirit. You are the terror and authority in my war cry. In me you live free.

Grandma Esther, Thank you for being my sanctuary, teaching me how to love the seemingly unlovable, how to forgive and the meaning of “Peace be still”. For you, I say “No” loud, clear, often, with no remorse,when too much is asked of me. Love without judgement. I choose my friends based on character and not color lines. I am leaving this city, state, country and carrying your heart in my heart every step of the way.I am taking you everywhere you should have gone. In me you breathe free.